International Open Data Hackathon – IRC Channel and project ideas

Okay, going to be blogging a lot more about the international open data hackathon over the next few days. Last count had us at 63 other cities in 25 countries on over 5 continents.

So first and foremost, here are three thoughts/ideas/actions I’m taking right now:

1. Communicating via IRC

First, for those who have been wondering… yes, there will be an IRC channel on Dec 4th (and as of now) that I will try to be on most of the day. #odhd

This could be a great place for people with ideas or open sourced projects to share them with others or for cities that would like to present some of the work they’ve done on the day with others to find an audience. If, by chance, work on a specific project becomes quite intense on the IRC channel, it may be polite for those working on it to start a project specific channel, but we’ll cross the bridge on the day.

Two additional thoughts:

2. Sharing ideas

Second, some interesting projects brainstorms have been cropping up on the wiki. Others have been blogging about them, like say these ideas from Karen Fung in Vancouver.

Some advice to people who have ideas (which is great).

a) describe who the user(s) would be and what the application will it do, why would someone use it, and what value would they derive from it.

b) even if you aren’t a coder (like me) lay out what data sets the application or project will need to draw upon

c) use powerpoint or keynote to create a visual of what you think the end product should look like!

d) keep it simple. Simple things get done and can always get more complicated. Complicated things don’t get done (and no matter how simple you think it is… it’s probably more complicated than you think

These were the basic principles I adhered when laying out the ideas behind what eventually became Vantrash and

Look at the original post where I described what I think a garbage reminder service could look like. Look how closely the draft visual resembles what became the final product… it was way easier for Kevin and Luke (who I’d never met at the time) to model vantrash after an image than just a description.



Vantrash screen shot

3. Some possible projects to localize:

A number of projects have been put forward as initatives that could be localized. I wanted to highlight a few here:

a) WhereDoesMyMoneyGo?

People could create new instances of the site for a number of different countries. If you are interested, please either ping wdmmg-discuss or wdmmg (at)

Things non-developers could do:

  1. locate the relevant spending data on their government’s websites
  2. right up materials explaining the different budget areas
  3. help with designing the localized site.

If you live in a country with a parliamentary system (or not, and you just want to adapt it) here is a great project to localize. The code’s at

Things non-developers can do:

  1. locate all the contact information, twitter handles, websites, etc… of all the elected members
  2. help with design and testing

c) How’d They Vote
This is just a wonderful example of a site that creates more data that others can use. The API’s coming out of this site save others a ton of work and essentially “create” open data…

d) Eatsure
This app tracks health inspection data of restaurants done by local health authorities. Very handy. Would love to see someone create a widget or API that companies like Yelp could use to insert this data into the restaurant review… that would be a truly powerful use of open data.

The code is here:
Do you have a project you’d like to share with other hackers on Opendataday? Let me know! I know this list is pretty North American specific so would love to share some ideas from elsewhere.

4 thoughts on “International Open Data Hackathon – IRC Channel and project ideas

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention International Open Data Hackathon – IRC Channel and project ideas | --

  2. Pingback: Avec NosDonné, la chasse aux trésors de l’OpenData est ouverte ! « Regards Citoyens

  3. Pingback: Sunlight Foundation and the International OpenData Hackathon |

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